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The summer music scene is crowded with female vocalists. With releases by Christina and Beyonce, Nelly and Jessica, we've certainly got a few choice cuts, each glossy and mass-produced for our obligatory summer outtings.

But no artists smells of over-processed fluff more than Rihanna. Her club thumper "S.O.S." got us through many a night, dancing tabletop and beating our butts against the wall with that Soft Cell sample. Hell I even offered up a club mix to blog readers.

She launched onto the scene with "Pon De Replay", an infectious summer jam for 2005. It got the party started, no doubt. It was the formulaic, paint-by-numbers beat that was undeniable. No one denied it, not even me. But as I became familiar with Rihanna, I began to see beyond the veneer and glossy image. There wasn’t much to discover, unfortunately.

I became even more disillusioned when Rihanna, along with Amerie and Teairra Mari, took to the stage of the 2005 World Music Awards as part of a tribute to Destiny’s Child. The girls of DC3 were receiving some lifetime (??) award or something and bare witness to said tribute. Anyway, the “tribute band” gave their best rendition of “Lose My Breath.” Perhaps the girls were taking the lyrics to heart as all but Amerie seemed to literally lose breath (or interest) during the performance. If I had watched the performance in hi-def television, I’d be able to see the “boom / kat / pow” choreographic routine on Rihanna's forehead. Her performance was pitiful. As the lens panned across the original gals in the audience, I became more interested in watching them view the trainwreck first hand then seeing it for myself.

Wanna witness the stagecrash for yourself? Check it out:

So this performance came and went and I didn’t give Rihanna a thought soon after. That is until I caught *another* Rihanna performance, this time on the FOX show So You Think You Can Dance. I tuned in, well because as I stated above, I’m sorta crazy about the "S.O.S." Moments into the performance I’m thrown back to that Destiny’s Child routine, except this time it’s blatantly obvious she’s lipping the words to her hit song! Now I completely understand that high-energy songs are extremely difficult to perform live, but I feel that, if an artist is choosing (or being made to) lip sync during a performance, that they gotta give their all and make it seem as live as possible. Well Rihanna was not up for the challenge. She was weak, boring and predictable.

My point being is this: Pop music listeners are constantly being fed music that is over-processed and devoid of organic soul. There’s little argument that, on a recording, Rihanna has the pipes to bolt her songs. I’ve even fallen victim to the club mixes of “Unfaithful” but then again, I’ve also taken a liking to Taco Bell Chalupas; they are just as processed and bad for me as this Jay Z protégé!

It’s quite obvious I can’t do a thing to change the playing field of pop music, but seeing that I’m fortunate enough to have a portal with a voice loud enough for others to hear, I see it my duty to share good music (IMHO) when I find it. So for every Rihanna, there’s a Dangerous Muse and Feist, a Robyn and even an obscure Jody Watley track. One thing I’ve learned is that we shouldn’t be discouraged as much by what’s out there, just find the encouragement to crave better music through discovery.

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